Monday, May 11, 2009


Have you ever wondered how the games we play affect our thinking; our view of the world?

Consider the difference between Eastern and Western game pieces. On one end of our world we have Mahjongg. On the other, we have checkers. The Western games are ordered black and red, up or down, right or wrong. Choices are thereby simplified. Eastern games are not as straightforward. To succeed, one might have to take a path congruent or obtuse to the goal.

Western thinking, through the Greeks, have been affected by this concept of either-or. Do you sacrifice the sickly member of your team in order for most to survive? Make the hard choice.

But sharpening the choice to one or another fails to pattern real life. Sometimes we make the hard choice with the hope to bring back the fallen member over time. In the long view, both win.

I have an example. When my children were young adults; one well and one ill, I had to choose who had to leave the family home. I told the sick one to leave. Why? In the blunt light of either-or, the welfare of the well took precedence. I am happy to say, though, that the story did not end there. The sick child did not wither and die. He learned the hard lessons of the street and became a humbler man because of it. Not to diminish the harshness of the choice, but by reinforcing my love in the face of hard choices over the intervening years, my son and I are reconciled.

The moral of the tale? Be slow to assume the consequences of your choices. Don't give up in the face of a "negative" choice. Hope gives new chances, and life is more complex than pass or fail.